5 Best Small Wood Burning Stoves

In today's guide, we recommend the best small wood stoves for cabins, small homes, and tiny houses. We also explain everything you need to know before you buy.

best-wood-stove-reviews

Using a mini wood stove is romantic and nostalgic, but also cheap and incredibly effective. It's a great way of heating a small space like a cabin or tiny house.

With a growing demand for small room heaters there has never been a better choice of tiny wood stoves available. 

In our guide we'll cover everything you need to know about small wood burning stoves.

What size do you need? How should they be installed? We've got all the answers below.

Plus, we recommend the top 7 compact wood stoves ready to buy right now (see our favorite here).

There's a comparison table where you can assess the key features and also more detailed small efficient wood stove reviews.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

The Best Small Wood Burning Stoves

Here's our pick of the top tiny stoves for cabins and small homes available right now.

Start off with the comparison table below where we've shortlisted our 3 favorite models. 

There are more detailed reviews of all of our recommendations following the table.

Smallest Wood Stove

Dickinson Newport

  • Measures just 7.88" x 14.7" x 10"
  • Heats spaces up to 500 ft2
  • Wall mount option

Great Value

Timberwolf EPA 2100

  • +85% efficiency
  • Heats spaces of 500 - 1,500 ft2
  • 5-year warranty


Best Small Wood Burning Stove Reviews

Read about our recommended models in more detail now. We explain what makes them special and deserving of a place on this list.

Our #1 Recommendation


Osburn 2000 Wood Stove - EPA Certified 

Awesome high efficiency wood burner that comes with a lifetime warranty.

Osburn 1700 small wood stove

The Osburn 2000 is our small wood burning stove of choice for a number of reasons.


It's a really dependable wood burner that packs a heck of a punch when it comes to efficient wood fuelled heating.


Classically styled but packed full of modern technology it leads the way in burn efficiency and low emission rates in 2021. 


Heating areas of 500 - 2,100 square feet, it's the perfect size for small homes, cabins and tiny houses (it's approved for mobile home use).



Key Features

  • EPA certified for new 2021 burn efficiency standards
  • Heats spaces of 500 - 2,100 square feet
  • 8 hour burn time
  • Low surface clearances
  • Lifetime warranty

Meets New 2021 EPA Standards


For starters, it meets the new revised EPA standards for particle emission. Starting in May 2021, any wood stove sold in the US must emit less than 2.5 g/h of fine particles.


And the Osburn 2000 doesn't just sneak under either. With average emissions as low as 1.54 g/h it's one of the cleanest burning small wood stoves on the market right now.


Besides being better for the environment, burning more efficiently means you use less fuel, saving both time and money.

Perfect for Smaller Spaces


Designed for use in spaces from 500 - 2,100 square feet this Osburn stove is built for life in small rooms.


The unit measures just 27" (width) x 29" (depth) x 33 1/8" (height). This is among the smallest of wood stoves you'll find that meet the new EPA guidelines for emissions.


It's also built with reduced clearances in mind. You can check out the minimum surface clearances on page 30 of the manual.

Just Warming Up!


The unit is made from a high density carbon steel. Steel has the structural benefit of heating up very quickly. There is a top heat deflector that directs the heat to the front of the stove, and special side panels reduce the clearance distances.


The 2.4 cu. ft. firebox can fit logs of up to 20 inches in size. A built in ash-pan sits at the bottom and is easily removed and cleaned.


The firebox is lined with kiln fired clay firebricks which is a feature of Osburn stoves. They enable a hotter and more efficient burn which gets more energy out of your fuel. The fire is aided by stainless steel secondary air tubes which funnel oxygen into the firebox. This has the benefit of creating a secondary ignition, again getting more heat out of less wood.

Osburn 2000 wood stove

The firebox is accessed via a cast iron door. A large ceramic glass (17 1/8" x 10 1/4") viewing window frames the fire and provides a wonderful view of the flames and embers.


The Osburn 2000 offers an 8 hour burn time which compares really well for a stove of this size. It comes equipped with a heat activated blower which helps heat a space more evenly and efficiently. The variable speed blower is capable of moving up to 130 cubic feet of air each minute.

Pros

  • Meets new EPA guidelines
  • Meets ULC S627, UL 1482 & UL 737 safety standards
  • 75,000 BTU/h
  • 8 hour burn time
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • New EPA regulations mean small stoves aren't as small as before
  • There are cheaper options out there

Bottom Line

The Osburn 2000 really is an awesome little wood burning stove.


It's designed to efficiently heat small spaces with the minimum of fuss.


Low clearances and a compact design make it our small wood burner of choice here at Tiny House, Huge ideas.












Great Value


Timberwolf EPA 2100

A powerful little wood burning stove that burns cleanly too.

Timberwolf EPA 2100 wood stove

The Timberwolf EPA 2100 is a great shout if you need a small wood stove for your home. Despite having a small footprint it pumps out an impressive 52,000 BTU/hour of heat energy.


Coming with a choice of legs or pedestal, this small burner manages to burn cleanly too. With an independently certified particle emission rate of 1.57 grams/hour, it burns as cleanly as anything of its size we've seen on the market.


However, it should be noted that it lacks official EPA certification (though it meets the requirements). These figures are the result of testing from another independent certifier (Polytests). You can see them here.



Key Features

  • Up to 85.5% efficiency
  • Heats spaces of 500 - 1,500 square feet
  • 6 hour burn time
  • 26" W x 31 1/2" H x 21 5/8" D
  • 5-year warranty


Clearances to Combustibles


Being a small stove it naturally fits more snuggly into small spaces with limited wall clearance. Take a quick look at the minimum clearances to surfaces in the diagram and table below.

wood stove clearances
Header

Single Wall Connector

Double Wall Connector

Sidewall (A)

19"

19"

Sidewall to Flue (B)

28 and 7/8"

28 and 7/8"

Backwall (C)

17 and 1/2"

17 and 1/2"

Backwall to Flue (D)

21"

16"

Corner (E)

11"

7"

Ceiling (F)

84"

75"




Small but Mighty


With dimensions of 26" (w) x 31 1/2" (h) x 21 5/8" (d) this compact wood stove is well suited to life in a small space. However, it's capable of heating up to 1,500 square feet with its efficient heat output.


The fully refractory lined firebox has a 1.5 cu. ft. capacity that can hold logs of up to 18" and can burn for up to 6 hours. To get the most heat out of this little stove it should really be paired with the optional blower kit, but it's not essential.

Timberwolf EPA2100 small wood burning stove

With more of a traditional styling than the previously mentioned Osburn model, in our opinion it looks best with the standard leg styling. However, the optional ash pan kit will work with the pedestal option too.


Our favorite feature is the large ceramic glass window that frames the flames beautifully. Fitted on a cast iron door, it has a really solid feel to it too.


But besides the stove itself, possibly the best thing here is the outstanding value for money on offer. Wood stoves like these can prohibitively expensive but not this one! We were genuinely surprised when we saw the price and we think you will be too!


Pros

  • Low emissions
  • High efficiency
  • 52,000 BTU/hr output
  • 6 hour burn time
  • Great value
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Not EPA certified (has other independent certification)
  • Less performance features than the Osburn

Bottom Line

The Timberwolf EPA 2100 is a great little burner for those that don't have the budget for the Osburn.


It offers amazing value for money and looks great in both traditional and contemporary settings.











Smallest Wood Stove


Dickinson Newport

The smallest wood burner on the market.


The finest really small wood stoves are those built for marine use. They must be compact, reliable, and very efficient. The Dickinson Newport is one such stove. It is one of the smallest wood burning stoves available, and can even be attached to a wall to save space.


It measures just 7.88"(w) x 14.7"(h) x 10"(d) and weighs just 15 lbs. But, despite being small in stature it is still capable of a heating output of 8000 BTU/hr. 


This figure really depends on the fuel you use, as the Newport is able to handle a variety of solid fuel types. It is capable of using wood, peat, charcoal, and presto log fuel.


This equates to a room size of up to 500 square feet. That's quite a punch from such a small unit!


The Dickinson Newport is designed for use on a 20-25 feet boat. This means it is well suited to heating a small living space like a tiny house. It wouldn't be suited to areas of extreme cold, but would do a decent job of keeping a cabin warm in most climates.


The big drawback with such a tiny wood stove is the burn time. As the firebox is so small it just can't handle large long burning logs. This means more frequent refuelling.



Key Features

  • 8,000 BTU/hr heat output
  • Heats spaces of up to 500 square feet
  • Can be wall mounted
  • 7.88"(w) x 14.7"(h) x 10"(d)
  • Takes multiple fuel types


It is well made of durable stainless steel and has a removable ash drawer so that cleaning is easy, and a damper control too. Since it's designed for use marine use it can also be wall mounted. This can be a real game changer when it comes to saving space.


The heater requires a 3" diameter chimney (flue). A minimum of 4 feet of chimney is required, and a straight chimney pipe is desirable. Within the chimney pipe there is another air pipe that feeds the fire. You must make sure that there is a fresh air vent close to the heater too.


The Newport is a great fit for cabins, RVs, and small rooms. If you're looking for something a bit bigger, then don't miss the Osburn model that's first on our list.

Pros

  • Tiny footprint
  • Wall mount
  • Multiple fuels
  • Stainless steel construction

Cons

  • Small fuel chamber
  • Shorter burn time

Bottom Line

The fact that this can be mounted on a wall as opposed to on the floor opens up a world of new opportunities to those wanting a wood burning stove, but have little space for it.


It's the smallest wood stove that we're aware of. However, this means it's not ideally suited to life in really cold areas or for heating large rooms.








Hi-Flame Shetland

Hi Flame Shetland wood stove

The Shetland is a clever little wood burning stove that looks great too. It features some smart design that means it packs a massive efficiency rating of 85%.

This is one of the highest efficiency ratings that we have seen, and it's made even more impressive when you consider that this is one of the smallest wood burning stoves on our list.

It produces such a clean burn by using pre-heated tertiary air which gets the very most out of the wood fuel. The higher the burn efficiency the more money you will save on fuel in the long term.

The Hi-Flame Shetland will produce up to 21,000 BTU and will heat an area of up to 800 square feet. This makes it the perfect size heater for small homes and cabins. It is small in stature too, and won't take up much space.

In fact, there is the option of using a top or rear flue which gives some flexibility over where it is installed. It doesn't need much surface clearance from walls either. A steel rear heat shield gives better air convection and decreases the clearance distance.

Besides having some well engineered design features, it also looks great. It's made of furniture quality solid cast iron and has a massive ceramic glass window on the door. The big window gives a great view of the fire, which will improve the atmosphere of any room.

The excellent build quality is backed by an impressive 7-year warranty. This is the longest warranty we've encountered in our research and another reason why this stove stands out in a crowded marketplace.

    Key Features

  • Price: $$$$
  • Heat Output: 21,000 BTU
  • Efficiency: 85%
  • Heat Radius: up to 800 ft2
  • Weight: 174 lbs
  • Dimensions: 17"(w) x 24"(h) x 18"(d)
  • Low clearance distance
  • Great build quality
  • 7-year warranty



Vogelzang Defender

Vogelzang defender wood stove

The Vogelzang Defender is our favorite wood burning stove in terms of looks and the overall ambience it creates. It has a huge glass door that allows an amazing view of the fire inside.

The Defender is made of plate steel, formed into an air tight finish. It has a pewter and nickel trim and a charcoal black finish. The door is made of heavy cast iron, with a 14.5" x 8" ceramic glass viewing window.

The Defender features an innovative way of getting the most possible energy out of the wood that you are burning. There is an air vent at the front of the stove that helps light the fire, and an air inlet at the back that routes air through three tubes directly above the burning wood. These air inlets ensure that the wood burns efficiently. In turn, this means the wood will burn longer, costing you less in fuel expenses.

The Defender actually has an EPA certificate for its efficiency in burning. Burn efficiency is incredibly important as it affects how much wood you will need to use and also the emissions that are produced in the combustion process. 

Update: it doesn't meet new May 2021 EPA requirements.

The Defender will provide up to 68,00 BTUs of heating power. This will comfortably heat areas of up to 1,200 square feet. It also comes with a blower to ensure an even distribution of heat. Whether or not you need the blower depends on the ventilation in your room.

The Vogelzang Defender also has adjustable legs. This is a nice feature that means you can give it a bit more clearance from nearby surfaces, or even save a bit more space.

    Key Features

  • Price: $$$
  • Heat Output: 68,000 BTU
  • Heat Radius: up to 1,200 ft2
  • Weight: 265 lbs
  • Dimensions: 23.5"(w) x 28"(h) x 25.5"(d)
  • Comes with blower
  • Adjustable legs
  • Large glass window


Recommended Reading: Our post on cleaning wood stove glass is a must read if you want your stove to stay looking pretty.



Conclusion

It really depends on your particular situation as to which model is best for your home, cabin, or RV.

If you're working with a really tight space, then the Dickinson Newport deserves your attention.

It really is tiny when compared to the other models. You might even call this a micro wood stove!

The drawbacks here though are that it will need filled with fuel more often and it just won't provide as much heat as the larger of the small indoor wood stoves.

Our absolute favorite is the Osburn 2000. It's just a great combination of all the things people look for in a small wood burner.


Our Top Pick

Osburn 2000 Small Wood Stove 

Osburn 1700 small wood stove

 - EPA Certified (2021 regulations)

- Low emissions

- Heats spaces of 500 - 2,100 square feet

- Lifetime warranty


The fact that it burns with such high efficiency is the real stand-out feature but it's just a really dependable all-rounder.

But, as you know, buying one of these things is a big decision not to be taken lightly. Take your time, get all the facts, and make sure you do your homework on installation and clearance distances.

small wood stove burning in bedroom


Buyer's Guide

Before you buy a tiny house wood burning stove make sure you're aware of the things that matter.

It's important that you get the right stove for your situation and that it's fit for purpose.

Here's a short introduction to mini wood burning stoves and our checklist of things to consider before you buy.

Why Get a Wood Burning Stove?

The small space wood stove is more popular than ever because modern designs are much more energy efficient than traditional fireplaces.

They produce more energy, and produce less air pollution in doing so.

However, like any source of energy, wood burning has its positive points and also its drawbacks.

Before we go any further, let's take a look at the real reasons for and against mini wood stoves like these.


The Pros & Cons of Wood Burners


Pros

  • They are elegant and create a wonderful atmosphere.
  • It's the perfect off-grid heating solution.
  • Fuel (wood chips, logs, lumber) is easily available, renewable, sustainable.
  • Fuel prices are cheap (sometimes free) and stable.
  • The best small wood stoves are now EPA certified to prove they burn efficiently and are not heavy polluters.
  • Small, efficient wood stoves are cleaner burners than oil and coal based systems.

Cons

  • Burning wood emits carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and soot into the air. These are hazardous to our health. Modern small wood heaters must meet certain air quality standards.
  • You must make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm installed
  • As they require a constant supply of fuel, you must consider the storage space of the wood.
  • Wood comes in many different shapes and sizes, and with different levels of moisture. These all affect how it will burn. This means the consistency of heating might not always be the same.
  • You will need a chimney pipe for the combustion gas.
  • A wood fire must be lit and tended to. Plus, you might need to chop wood. If you're not an active person then this method of heating might not be for you.

Conclusion:

There are certainly sizeable drawbacks to heating your home with a wood burner.


However, if you choose an EPA certified, cleaner burning model and aren't put off by going "back to basics" so to speak, then these drawbacks can be easily discounted.


The truth is, nothing beats sitting in front of a warm stove on a cold night!



Wood Stoves Vs Propane and Gas Stoves

Propane heaters are a popular choice for RVs and tiny houses, and there are many good reasons for this. But, like any fuel source there are drawbacks too.

Let's see how small log burners compare with the common alternative. To do this we'll see how they differ in 4 key categories.

These are: cost, maintenance, environment, and aesthetics.

  1. Cost - A key feature in favor of small wood burning stoves is that the cost of wood will always remain low and steady. In fact, for some it will even be free. Compare this with the cost of propane which is dependent on international markets and can fluctuate greatly.
  2. Maintenance - This area is where the propane heater really shines. Simply connect the gas canister and you're done until next time. With a wood burning stove you may need to chop your own wood, dry the wood, light a fire, and tend to the fire. This is a lot more labor intensive.
  3. Environment - Gas burns cleaner than wood. It emits less soot and air pollution. However, most modern wood burning stoves are EPA certified, which means less smoke and better efficiency than before.
  4. Aesthetics - A hands down win for the wood burning heaters. They can transform the mood and ambience of a room or small space. The best wood stoves are classic in design and often the center piece of a room.

Recommended Article: Learn all about small pellet stoves in our big guide.

wood stove and basket of logs

Safety Notes About Small Wood Burning Stoves

These units can work really well in tiny houses and small spaces, but they must be installed carefully and safety should be the priority.

A wood burning stove will obviously be a fire hazard, but it also emits some potentially deadly gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide.

However, if you follow the recommended installation guidelines you can rest at ease.

Here are a few key points that should be considered prior to buying a high efficiency wood stove.

  1. Flue - the flue is the chimney which will carry the gases made in the stove out of your home. Consider the heat of the flue pipe, and the path it must take out of your home. The flue pipe must be inspected at regular intervals to make sure it is in good condition. It may also need cleaned from time to time to make sure there is no buildup that could become a fire hazard.
  2. Positioning - installing a tiny house wood stove can be a bit of a headache. It must be clear of any potential fire hazards, and you're not exactly blessed with floor space. The stove manufacturers will provide a recommended clearance distance. Check out the image below for some typical values.
  3. Fire Safety - burning wood produces deadly carbon monoxide gas. Make sure you have a fully operational CO alarm, and that it is tested regularly.
wood-stove-installation-clearance

                        Typical Clearance Distances for a Wood Stove


Recommended Reading: Increase your stove's heat efficiency with a heat powered fan.


Before You Buy: 3 Step Checklist

If you're new to these home heaters then make sure you've got these 3 points checked off to avoid any surprises!

1

Make sure it adhere's to new EPA emission standards.

As of May 2021, the EPA has revised its emission standards for wood burning appliances.


It has been lowered from 4.5 g/h to just 2.5 g/h. 


g/h is the number of grams of fine particles emitted by an appliance per hour of combustion.


This means now new wood stoves sold in the US must meet this emission standard.


Unfortunately, the smaller wood stoves are generally less efficient and many now no longer meet the EPA criteria. That means much less choice.


The good news is that all stoves that meet this standard will save you more money in fuel as they burn much more efficiently. They're also much less harmful to the environment and your lungs.


Wood stoves that exceed 75% burn efficiency may be eligible for a $300 tax credit too.


Our recommended small stove, the Osburn 2000 emits just 1.54 g/h of fine particles and is one of the cleanest burning small models on the market.


You can check it out in more detail here.

2

If space is tight, make sure you know the recommended clearance distances.

The clearance distance is the minimum distance allowed from the stove to the nearest surfaces (walls and ceiling).


It varies with each model and also changes according to the way that it is placed in a room (will it be placed in a corner or will it be parallel to a wall?).


Using a double wall chimney connector, and also using protective materials on the wall can reduce the clearance distances.


If space is tight in your tiny house, make sure you can meet the recommended clearance distances before you buy.


In no circumstances should you ignore these recommended clearances. They are there to safeguard your home against fire hazards.

3

How much heating power will you need for your home?

The heat that a stove can produce is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU).


One BTU is the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.


This figure can be misleading when quoted by manufacturers as it is gained under optimal conditions (usually in a lab). But, if conditions are equal between stoves then it's a great comparison tool.


Just remember that you'll be hard pushed to replicate these numbers in your home.


The average sized home would probably need no more than 20,000 BTUs per hour of continuous heat to stay warm, even in winter time. Even this figure is a maximum one.


The average sized house is around 2,600 square feet, while a tiny house would range between 100-400 square feet.

Wood Stove Maintenance

It's essential that you check your device regularly to ensure that it is running efficiently, and of course safely.

There are a few simple checks that you should do. Here's a brief guideline to maintaining a stove of this kind.

  1. The chimney and chimney connector should be checked every month for the first few months, and around every two months thereafter. When wood burns slowly it creates creosote vapors that can cool in the chimney to form a solid build-up. Any creosote build-up should be removed to prevent a fire risk.
  2. Check for damages to joints, and the chimney outlet at least twice per year. Gaps can be identified using a dark room and a flashlight.
  3. Check that the glass isn't cracked or chipped, and that the seals are good at least twice per year. Gaps in the seals can be found with a flashlight in a dark room. Repairs should be carried out with fire cement, or replacement parts.
  4. Check that the stove door seals tightly at least twice per year. You can do this by putting a piece of paper in the door. When pulling the paper out you should feel real resistance.


Our Top Pick

Osburn 2000 Small Wood Stove 

Osburn 1700 small wood stove

- EPA Certified (2021 regulations)

- Low emissions

- Heats spaces of 500 - 2,100 square feet

- Lifetime warranty


That's our guide to the top tiny house wood stoves complete. We hope this post has been of value to you.

If you have any questions then don't hesitate to get in contact at the bottom of the page. We'll get back to you promptly.

Check back soon as we have lots of new posts and ideas coming in the near future.


Extra Sources

The Balance

About the Author Jamie

I'm an English teacher and writer. I'm passionate about the environment and love the tiny house movement!

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  1. Your comparison is excellent, however, I would argue that a wood stove is far more environmentally friendly than a gas stove for these reasons:
    1: gas may burn cleaner than wood but it is a non-renewable, petrochemical resource that takes far more energy (and creates significant pollutants) to extract, refine, and transport than wood. Taking into account the comprehensive total of the each fuels’ production, distribution and consumption byproducts, wood is by far the greener option.
    2. Wood has a closed loop cycle whereby the co2 emitted when burned is used by growing trees. I.E. if you burn an 80 year old tree the co2 is reabsorbed in another 80 years. The co2 released by gas production and use is not recovered by the processes that created the gas on any scale that is reasonable to discuss. Hence, fossil fuels.
    3. My experience is that having to locate, chop, stack, and stoke my own wood and fire means that I am willing to tolerate a few degrees colder to save on the work it takes to acquire the fuel. Gas makes you lazy with your fuel consumption.

    Thanks for your consideration,
    Brad

    1. Excellent points Brad! I appreciate the input.
      Reason 3 especially is probably never considered by most (myself included), but makes so much sense.

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